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Feaster: Just a matter of time until Tortorella returns

Jul 29, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

John Tortorella has been a head coach in part or all of the last 14 NHL campaigns. Could 2014-15 be the season that ends that streak?

Tortorella won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, has a 446-375-37-78 coaching record, and his teams have advanced to the playoffs in eight of the last 11 seasons. He was also fired by the New York Rangers and Vancouver within the span of a year and his tenure with the Canucks couldn’t have gone much worse.

Was that the final nail in the coffin though or will the controversial 56-year-old coach get another shot? Jay Feaster, who served as the Lightning’s general manager during most of Tortorella’s run as the team’s bench boss, is betting on the latter.

“I think time heals all wounds,” Feaster said in an interview with the Fischler Report. “I don’t think for a minute that Torts was anything other than what people knew he was. I think Mike Gillis knew the issues, the positives and the negatives. In my mind the issue really came down to that infamous day when he decided to try to get in the locker room when [Calgary head coach] Bob Hartley was antagonizing.”

Feaster is referring to an incident that happened on Jan. 18 that involved Tortorella trying to get into the Calgary Flames locker room during the first intermission. Tortorella was riled up after the game started with a line brawl. He was suspended for 15 days for his actions.

It’s worth noting though that the Canucks’ decline predated that event. They got off to a 23-11-6 start, but were on a 2-5-3 stretch going into the game against Calgary. Vancouver finished the season 36-35-11 and ranked 28th in goals scored.

“I believe that John will get back,” Feaster added. “General managers in the league know he’s a good coach, and you take the good with the bad. Part of what makes him a good coach is that he does not have the political correctness gene. He is not worried about what you or me or what anybody else thinks about him – he’s going to do what he thinks is right. I think some time away, so time to decompress, I think that’ll be good for him.”

There are always teams that under perform during the regular season and some of them will attempt to shake things up by firing their head coach. As Feaster sees it, eventually one of them is going to bet on the idea that Tortorella can turn the season around.


Some thoughts on Torts, who was never a good idea for Vancouver

  1. esracerx46 - Jul 29, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Who’s going to be hired first? Feaster as a GM or Torts as a head coach? Or are they hired as a package for an expansion team somewhere?

    • elrock7 - Jul 29, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      As a Leaf fan, I hope Montreal hires him.

  2. 950003cups - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:12 AM


  3. patthehockeyfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    I like Torts. I also think that hockey has passed him by, and that he’s an anachronism.

    It isn’t the political correctness as Feaster puts it. It’s more that Torts just gets way too fired up and goes off, and in at least one case, crosses the line (Calgary). (Sort of like Coach Q grabbing his package.)

    I know it’s an emotional sport; but, if you want your players to act like civilized men, you have to set an example of how to do that.

    Any team that hires Torts deserves him.

  4. minwild41 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    @esracerx46 Feaster already received a job from the Lightning as executive director of community hockey development.

  5. billiam55 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    always grateful to what torts did for the rangers. he really is a good coach. i think though he would make a great hockey commentator or analyst just because he tells it like it is and knows the game. hed be fun to watch.

    • imleftcoast - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Torts would have more insight than any of the guys on NBC Sports or Cherry/McLean. Before ESPN ruined sports broadcasting, analysts provided analysis, rather than offensive comments about beating women, gay players being too ‘distracting’ and funny suits and haircuts.

  6. marauders127 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Head coaching is all about handling of people and channeling your emotions these days. Torts has proven he can no longer coach modern day players and can’t control his emotions adequately.

    • barkar942 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      “Head coaching is all about handling of people and channeling your emotions these days.”
      That statement is exactly true. That is why people in this world have been pussified because of all of the politically correct coddling. Does anyone really think that the Rangers would have ended up in the finals this year without all of the demanding coaching they received from Torts?

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:23 PM

        Sorry to disagree, barkar942.

        First, you call it pussified. Some might consider it the end of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.

        While some world events might say otherwise, society is learning, step by step, to treat each other as human beings. The days of “The beatings will end when morale improves” are over. Violence begets violence.

        Second, language! Women present.

      • nyrnashty - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        patthehockeyfan- LOL that’s so dumb!

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:34 PM


  7. djshnooks - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Bring Torts back to Rochester/Buffalo for a year or two until he gets another gig.

  8. wutangwild - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    If he doesn’t get hired as a coach I’d love to see him take Pierre’s spot between the benches. Really anyone else, actually. Would be fun to watch although there would probably be a lawsuit pretty early in the season

  9. 34defense2014 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    Hey nyrnashty! Your really are a complete f….ing moron? Aren’t you? lol what a knuckle head lol lol lol

  10. vancouversportsbro - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:46 AM

    I’ll laugh at the fool who signs him or gives him a job. Horrible job in Vancouver and made an embarrassment out of himself with the Calgary debacle and he did mediocre in New York. He had them playing a gritty defensive shot blocking game. Thank goodness when Vigneault came in he had them playing decent hockey. If someone wants to sell their franchise maybe hiring this idiot is a good move. Worst coach in hockey.

  11. J.M. Garlock - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Torts is Mike Keenan on steroids.
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